Turkey company shuts down electricity supply to Lebanon, plunging the country into darkness

A Turkey power company that provides electricity to Lebanon from two barges shut down supplies over payment arrears and a legal threat to its vessels amid the country’s economic crisis.

Karpowership, the company that supplies 370 megawatts (MW) or about one-quarter of Lebanon’s supply, told the government it would have to shut down in the absence of moves towards a settlement.

The shutdown threatens longer daily power cuts across the heavily indebted nation. Many people rely on private generators or struggle for several hours a day without power.

In a statement, the company said it was shutting down supplies.

“For 18 months we have been exceedingly flexible with the state, continually supplying power without payment or a payment plan, because the country was already facing very hard times. However, no company can operate in an environment with such direct and undue risk,” Karpowership, a unit of Karadeniz, said.

Lebanon’s finance ministry said it had been notified by the Turkish firm and cited a legislator saying the country could face “total darkness” in case of a shut-off. It has made no public statement about any talks.

Lebanon’s total capacity is about 2,200 MW, including the barges, but was only generating a total of 1,300 MW, including the Turkish supplies of 370 MW. Lebanon’s peak demand in 2020 was 3,500 MW